Hotel Of The Week: Inn above Tide, Sausalito

Get back to the Sixties at the Inn above Tide in Sausalito, on California's old hippy trail. Lie back and relax in the hot tub - why it could be the Summer of Love all over again...
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The Independent Travel

The counterculture born in Marin County back in the 1960s is still alive and well in Sausalito, northern California. This Mediterranean-style village is tucked in the voluptuous curves of the Marin headlands north of San Francisco overlooking the bay.

If you lust after the lifestyle that those "hot-tubbers" pioneered - think 1967 and the Summer of Love - then there are few finer places in which to indulge your inner hippy than the Inn Above Tide on Sausalito's waterfront. Most of the rooms in this three-storey hotel have that essential bit of hippy kit - the hot tub - and all have decks which let guests admire the sweeping views of the bay and the San Francisco skyline.

Sausalito itself is a charming mix of chic boutiques, art galleries, bars and restaurants where the bohemian legacy lives on. A few doors down from the Inn, the Fingerhut Gallery keeps the 1960s dream alive with the vibrant canvases of legendary rockers such as Jerry Garcia, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane.

Beyond the town a land of wild Pacific beaches, towering redwoods and stunning parks awaits. Neighbouring Mill Valley, the epicentre of this laid-back way of life, is full of organic-munching, Democrat-voting trust-fund types.

The location

The Inn is the only hotel in the whole bay that is on the waterfront proper, with views to San Francisco in the distance. The city itself is a scenic seven-mile drive away, via the Golden Gate Bridge. The hotel is next to the ferry landing, making it ideal for excursions into San Francisco via the 25-minute boat ride.

The comfort factor

There are 26 rooms and three suites all with bay views, a private deck over the water, fireplaces, TV, DVDs and Wi-Fi internet access. The well-appointed rooms are decorated in earth tones - sage, sand and red rock - with contemporary furniture and large windows.

The bathrooms

All have oversized deep-soaking tubs, and some have Jacuzzis for two and portholes, giving them a nautical feeling. Toiletries are from Hermès.

The food and drink

An expanded continental breakfast and sunset cheese-and-wine reception are included in the room rate. The breakfast is typically Californian, with at least six kinds of fresh fruit, home-made granola and freshly squeezed juices. The cheese-and-wine receptions in the evening feature some rather fine choices of Californian wines.

The people

The hotel attracts both city slickers and country lovers.

Golfer Phil Mickelson is a regular and Hollywood heavy hitters are frequent guests at the weekend. If you want to pitch your script, you're more likely to be able to bend the ear of an executive here than in Los Angeles.

The area

With both the great outdoors and sophisticated city life on its doorstep, Sausalito is uniquely placed. Just a few minutes' drive takes you into the Marin headlands or the Mount Tamalpais State Park, where, reputedly, the sport of mountain biking was invented.

For longer trips, you can explore California's wine country and cattle ranches. Still further afield are the High Sierras, Yosemite National Park, Death Valley National Park and the great drive down Highway 1 to Los Angeles.

The access

Two of the Inn's rooms are wheelchair-accessible.

The damage

Rooms start at $285 (£167) per night including breakfast and the cheese-and-wine reception.

The address

The Inn Above Tide, El Portal, Sausalito, California 94965 (00 1 415 332 9535;


Chris Coplans travelled as a guest of America As You Like It (020-8742 8299;, which offers a four-night package at the Inn Above Tide in Sausalito from £1,035. Prices include scheduled fights to San Francisco on United Airlines and car hire.